Instant Parenting Advice
Join our mailing list and get instant access to:
  • Child behavior tips
  • Course samples
  • Exclusive discounts
  • And more!

Watch: Child Behavior Expert Janet Lehman Responds to Parent of Unmotivated 12-year-old

Posted by Janet Lehman, MSW

Recently, Empowering Parents invited our readers to send in their parenting questions to us. We chose three to answer, and the first is from a mom named Susy whose pre-teen son doesn’t seem to be interested in anything but Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Soccer. (To any other parents of pre-teen boys — sound familiar?)

Here is her question:

Dear Janet,

I have a 12-year-old son who is hearing impaired.  He is NOT interested in academics at all. We switched schools because he wasn’t up to the academic standards of that school. Now, he is attending a more relaxed school since he’s been through a lot lately — among other things, he was bullied.

My husband and I are avid readers, he’s grown up seeing us reading and interested in learning more. But, he won’t read anything other than The Diary of the Wimpy Kid.

My question is:  What can we do to inspire him and instill in him interest in academics? I’m afraid that if he continues like this he won’t start a career.  We are willing to do anything so he can go to college, but he doesn’t show any ambitions other than playing soccer.

I’d appreciate your valuable advice.

Susy in California

Great question, Susy — I can hear that you’re really trying to find ways to motivate your son, who sounds like he’s also had a tough time recently. First, I want to say that parenting often feels like one of the toughest things we’ll ever do. I have so much empathy and admiration for any parent who is trying their best to learn new techniques to be more effective with their kids. I hope my answer to your question proves to be helpful for you and your family. Please keep in touch and let us know how it goes with your son.


To see Janet’s response to Susy’s question, watch the video below:


About Janet Lehman, MSW

Janet Lehman, MSW, has worked with troubled children and teens for over 30 years. A veteran social worker, she specializes in child behavior issues — ranging from anger management and oppositional defiance to more serious criminal behavior in teens. In addition, Janet gained a personal understanding of child learning and behavior challenges from her son, who struggled with learning disabilities in school. She is co-creator of The Total Transformation® Program, The Complete Guide To Consequences™, Getting Through To Your Child™, and Two Parents One Plan™.

Like What You're Reading?
Sign up for the FREE Empowering Parents newsletter to receive special offers and more content like this.
We will not share your information with anyone.